How Aging Women Display Their Inner Beauty

The thirty-year old photograph of my former husband and me is one of my favorites. Occasionally, someone asks why I keep it, and I always tell the truth. “I like the way I look in that picture.”

During a visit from two of my little cousins ages eight and ten, they were admiring the portrait when the younger one asked, “Why did you leave him?”

“I thought I was too pretty for him.” I joked.

“Yea,” she said while gazing at the younger version of me, “you were really beautiful.”

I thanked her for the compliment, and immediately she added, “Well, you can go back to him now. You’re not so beautiful anymore.”

I could not help laughing, but her older sister did not think it was funny. “You shouldn’t say that," she chided.

The outspoken darling replied, “She’ll be alright. She’s strong.”

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

— Sophia Loren

When the reality of fading physical beauty sets in, aging women do well to remember that their inner beauty still shines in their strength, as in all their other virtues (some mentioned in the alphabet below). In this article, we will admire the beauty in four of these many virtues and appreciate their emphasis on being beautiful more than looking beautiful.

The Alphabet of Beautiful Traits

Column No. 1 (A-F)
Column No. 2 (G-M)
Column No. 3 (N-T)
Column No. 4 (U-Z)
A - Awareness
G - Gratitude
N - Neatness
U - Uniqueness
B - Bravery
H - Honesty
O - Optimism
V - Vivacity
C- Confidence
I - Insight
P - Patience
W - Wisdom
D - Decency
J - Joy
Q - Quietness
X - eXcellence
E- Elegance
K - Kindness
R - Respect
Y - Youthfulness
F- Fairness
L - Loyalty
S - Strength
Z - Zest
M - Modesty
T - Tact
Insert any of these (or other like) traits and say, " My _______ is a display of my beauty."

Beauty in Strength

Painting by Aleksander Mroczkowski
Painting by Aleksander Mroczkowski | Source

The strength of the building is not in the glossy paint which is put on to make it look attractive; the strength is in the steel which lay hidden inside the walls. Without the steel, the gloss has nothing on which to stand.

Similarly, the essence of real beauty is not the glossy glamor which youth lends to women; the essence of their beauty is the foundational virtues built into their character.

Sadly, in some women, self-worth declines with loss of physical beauty in later years. Not so, for those who nurtured character as much as they nurtured looks.

Strong character is always attractive; physical features decline gradually until they are not so beautiful anymore.

Character strength equals beauty in women when:

  • Wrinkles line the face, but they do not reduce the motivation seen in their smiling eyes.
  • Gravity pulls at their breasts, but it does not reduce the strength of love and compassion within their bosom.
  • Cellulite forms bumps on their thighs, but those same thighs form a lap for the grandchildren who feel the beautiful strength of a grandparent’s embrace.

It is the strong support that aging women give and the long-lasting influence on the recipients which feel so beautiful.

Beauty in Self-Acceptance

Women who reach the retirement age, have had much practice in acceptance ("the act of taking or receiving something offered" - . They accepted job positions which, though not their first choice, helped to develop their work skills. They accepted people and situations, recognizing their power to influence results. As they age, they extend that spirit of acceptance to the approval of what they have become. They love who they are.

Not that they set aside their ambitions and passions, but they do not burden themselves with memories of mistakes they made or opportunities that slipped past them. Neither are they jealous of other women who gained more than they did. They carry around a sweet attitude of contentment, counting their blessings and parading to the younger women the beauty of graceful aging.

Self-acceptance frees them to pursue another level of living—the level at which fading looks and decreasing physical abilities become reminders of the great odds they have survived. They tell stories of struggles, accentuating the successes. By accepting that their lives are beautiful, they become part of that beauty.

Beauty in Optimism

Some people give an ugly impression of old age. They wear a constant frown and they curse at their current incapacities. Folks prefer the company of cheerful old ladies who share positive perspectives when they confront the complications of aging.

Millions of young and old women are inspired by Jenny Joseph’s humorous optimism in her poem beginning, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple | With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.” She decided to start wearing the combination colors immediately, “So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised, | When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple!

Red Hat Society for Women over 50 Is Inspired by Jenny's Poem

Photo by lorigoldberg
Photo by lorigoldberg | Source

Thank God for the optimistic old women who share laughter even while they are aching.

  • An old woman disagreed with the doctor who said that the pain in one of her knees was due to old age. “Couldn’t be, she informed him. “The other knee is just as old.”
  • My aunt lived on a hill and when she could no longer walk down the path, she said, “Staying up here gives me an advantage. I’ll be ahead of most people when it’s time for us to fly to heaven.” She was a favorite aunt.

Optimistic old women make other people like their company. The beauty they put forth in attitude and words affect others over distance and time. The beauty in their optimism is lasting.

Beauty in Faith

Some of the best stories about the beauty of faith are told by children and grandchildren who had mothers and grandmothers praying for them. Many of the offspring reaped positive life-changing results, because the old women choose to pray, and not to worry.

Faith in God affects the aging women’s poise and mood. Sarah in the Bible story laughed out loud when God rewarded her trust in Him:

And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6 (NLT). . . She believed that God would keep his promise (Hebrews 11: 11).

No amount of Botox can create beauty comparative to the beauty of godliness in aging women of faith.

© 2016 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 62 comments

sallybea profile image

sallybea 11 months ago from Norfolk


One of the reasons why I am so attracted to your writing, is that it displays an inner beauty and strength of character which is something which all of us can aspire to. Beauty is on the inside in my book, on rare occasions they sometimes combine. From a photography point of view I would always choose to shoot a well lived in face and body:)

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Sally, I'm honored to have you read what I write. thanks for your kind words and for sharing your very practical views.

DDE profile image

DDE 11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi MsDora, isn't that amazing?

The inner beauty shines through the aging process. A lovely idea for a hub and you share with truth.

word55 profile image

word55 11 months ago from Chicago

Well Dora, I hoping to get a glimpse of that younger beauty with your ex-husband... Anyway this article was a beauty. I think your beauty continues as you maintain your health with properly and timely eating, resting, faithfulness, praising God and being most positive for the rest of of living a beautiful lifestyle. Your wisdom is always appreciated. Chalk up another one at top of the charts.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 11 months ago from Shelton

MsDora, there is no strangeness in your hubs... they are practical and I think you create a landscape where readers will yearn to be... I so agree with Sallybea.. :)

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Somehow the way this was written was the same as the concepts it brought across. One could just feel the ageless beauty of the author.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Devika. The idea really came from that conversation with my little talkative cousin.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, I think you have the ideas for another beauty topic. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, you say the nicest things in the nicest ways. "Practical" is important to me. Your support and encouragement mean much to me.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Sweet Eric, You're becoming a real expert at compliments. Thank you and know that all the love you preach in your sermons is affecting me positively.

lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Beauty - yes, that sums up the hub, You did a wonderful job of making your point. I especially liked the part about your cousins and the woman with the "old" knees. A beautiful mix of humor and truth. I definitely believe you're as young as you feel.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, glad you enjoyed the article. Your conclusion puts on the same page. Thanks for your input.

denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 11 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

I think that acceptance of who and what we have become is one of the greatest challenges of aging, at least it is for me! I am finding that I need to accept that my contributions to this ever-changing world are in who I am rather than what I do or how I look. Life has many twists and turns, and those who have weathered most of them are able to provide great stability to the younger generation. Our wisdom helps them to see that the future is indeed bright, in spite of what is happening now.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 11 months ago from England

I always love your hubs MsDora, purely because youu find the beauty in all things, and this really made smile and agree with you, nell

billybuc profile image

billybuc 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

Such an important message. I think of Katherine Hepburn when I think of beauty in aging.....the inner beauty will shine if allowed to do so.

lambservant profile image

lambservant 11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

SallyBea took the words right out of my mouth. Your inner beauty is in your strength, Grace, optimism, and devotedness to the Lord and your mother. Whenever is see "Ms Dora" I know I'm going to read something inspiring.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 11 months ago

There is a beauty in older mature women that can never be outshined by the naïve vanity of youth , Show me a woman who has pride in herself , pride in womanhood , pride in her grey hair and smiley wrinkles , and I'll proudly take her out to dinner !..........shhh ,don't tell my wife !.........:-}

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, I agree that "who I am rather than what I do or how I look" is what matters. Well said! Thanks for your input.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Nell, happy that I made you smile. True, beauty is everywhere. Thanks for the kind comment.

yecall profile image

yecall 11 months ago from California

You are so right and this is what we all need to be reminded of. Of course, it is not so easy in a culture that is obsessed with outer appearance. Even more fleeting than beauty is youth which everyone is always trying to recapture. This is a very good reminder!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, Katherine Hepburn is another good model of beautiful aging. Thanks for mentioning her.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Lori, we both inspire with our pens. Thanks for the kind words.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Ahorseback, wish your comment was inside the article. Hope other men share your view. That woman would not mind going to dinner with you and your wife. (Laugh).

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Yecall, Thanks for your insightful contribution; and well said. Hopefully, aging woman know when to stop focusing on fading beauty.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 11 months ago from london

A timely message at the very end. What a great and beautiful Hub! Should be educational to and benefit many women, indeed men also. Reminds me very much of my Growing Older; Glowing Wiser, but yes quite different, sweeter ... more charming.

Well-written and inspirational Hub. I love your creativity with the beautiful traits. My Gratitude to the Divine; to humanity, is the inner trait and display my Beauty. Glory Be!!

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 11 months ago from southern USA

You are the epitome of true ageless beauty, MsDora. Your wisdom, grace, kindness and the Faith you share all exudes much beauty and you are a beautiful mentor to all, especially younger women. I especially loved the part about the grandmother holding her grandchildren. It's so true that I feel beautiful (not physically) on the inside when I know and feel how much I am loved by my grandchildren. This should be read by all, so I am sharing everywhere.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 11 months ago from The Beautiful South

Another winner Dora. I think aging leads us to find who we really are instead of trying to be everyone else we admire. It is a time for calm and relaxation and I am enjoying it more all the time. (Well except for the knee pains. lol)

Great fun read.

PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 11 months ago from Fresno CA

Thanks for sharing this. It is what we all need to hear. We know it is only skin deep and aging will happen to us all, but it seems depressing to watch until you realize the grace within and character God has been building.



Maria Cross profile image

Maria Cross 11 months ago from Kent, UK

Inspiring writing, MsDora. You remind us that whereas physical beauty will always fade, beauty of character can grow with age - if we let it. There is much to embrace with the ageing process.

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 11 months ago from New Delhi, India

What a beautiful hub!

I am sure this hub will make every aging women feel beautiful and they will be able to identify what makes them beautiful at this age.

Inner beauty and strength is so important for women.

Loved these lines from this hub, "When the reality of fading physical beauty sets in, aging women do well to remember that their inner beauty still shines in their strength, as in all their other virtues."

Thank you for sharing!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Manitata, we see beauty in both you and your work and even in your comments. Thank you.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, I'm blushing! Just so you know, I feel surrounded by beautiful younger women here on HP though I cannot see them literally. I pray to deserve the sweet things you say and also that I influence you all to stay beautiful. God bless you all.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, some aches come with the package, but they are signs of life. Thanks for your input. Enjoy the peace and calm and stay beautiful!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, thanks for the reminder that our aging beauty is the result of God's grace, and it shines still brighter when we give Him the credit.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Maria, you said it well: There is much to embrace with the ageing process." So much of life we can still enjoy. Thank you.

Glenis Rix 11 months ago

Glenis Rix from the UK wrote a comment which I (MsDora) deleted because of a link within it. Sorry, Glenis (something about not posting links in comments).

However, I re-entered it --MsDora.

"I'm living Jenny Joseph's poem and having the time of my life. At my age (68) the focus is on staying fit and healthy, loving my friends and family, rather than fighting a losing battle with wrinkles."

For Glenis' link to "A Day in the Life of a Pensioner" copy the disheveled link into your browser and close the spaces. ( http: //www. pensionerspages. co. uk/2016/03/senior- citizens- shake- some- moves.html)

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Glenis, I would love to belong to a group like yours. Thanks for sharing such a positive activity involving beautiful ladies for a really great cause.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Chitrangada, we older women finally figure out what's important about life and about us. I appreciate your kind comment.

Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 11 months ago from Florida

Hey, MsDora, I really loved reading this. As I have gotten to middle-aged now, I think about how it will be for me to settle with my looks inside myself more than on the outside. I think I have already done a good job of realizing what is coming, and I take my own unique steps for doing so. I take selfies a lot. I take selfies of me looking good with make-up, and then I'll take a selfie of me without. I'll even take selfies of me when I'm sick, and I'll post them all. People may think that I do this, because I love myself, and well, I do to an extent, but why shouldn't we love ourselves, right? However, I also do this to prepare for something I know is coming. The other thing I do, and have been doing for years now is; when I see an older person or couple, I watch them, I really truly observe them. I wonder about the lives they've lived, and sometimes I swear I can see them when they were young. Then, it just turns beautiful. Aging becomes an attractive thing, and we should all be encouraged to grasp it with loving eyes and light hearts. I believe this is exactly what you do MsDora. I know I don't know you well yet, but when I stop by to read something of yours, your wisdom and grace take over the page.

Many Blessings to you, MsDora. I loved this!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Missy, thank you for reading and commenting. I can tell that you spend time in reflection and that you practice awareness. Thanks for your input.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

Loved the message, the witty anecdotes/jokes, and that alphabet! Wonderful! For women who have relied so heavily on their looks it's quite a wake up call to feel it fading. Find beauty within and value the total package.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, thanks for the comment; the last sentence is precious. Thanks for your valuable input.

DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 11 months ago

I relearned so much from your hub today. When I was in my early twenties I spent a lot of time with the elderly, mostly woman. When I could of been doing anything else in my life I chose to be around women who made a difference and always will in our lives.I have seen the ever lasting look. The bright, smart, gentle,charismatic unbelievable charm. It is one of bravery and courage. Fearless and loving. You just know you feel so blessed to witness and be a small part of it. I could never put my finger on it. NowI feel it again some thirty years later picturing you talking or standing poised, sitting relaxed in your favorite comfy chair. I will always respect and appreciate the love that you radiate. People say looks fade and what I see is true beauty that is so much more. Thank you for writing this hub. I think you found the secret of eternal youth. It is a way of telling the world I may be able to move as fast or do the things I use to but I am a wonderful person and you have just begun to see my talents. Have a beautiful day.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Dream On, you are blessed to have witnessed the virtues of those aging women. I'm sure that they influenced the positive outlook you've been sharing. Your comment reads prophetic-like. Thank you and I receive that.

swalia profile image

swalia 11 months ago

Amazing hub! Physical beauty may fade but inner beauty lives forever. Yet we hanker for outward beauty ignoring the beautiful soul inside.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Swalia, we're on the same page with regards to beauty. You stay beautiful!

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I have known the beauty of many women in their winter years. Some of them are more beautiful than those that are in the spring of their lives.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Deb, I feel more beautiful now; I think most of us are. Thank you for sharing.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 10 months ago from Central Florida

Dora, this is one of the most beautiful pieces I've read on aging women. I love the comparison of a woman's strength of character to the hidden support system of a building. If anyone is having a hard time dealing with lost outer beauty, that's the section to read as a reminder of what's important.

I was just remarking to someone the other day that I'm in a good place. I'm comfortable with myself as I age. Things that once seemed monumental no longer carry weight. Priorities fall into place effortlessly and I'm free to be me.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 10 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Shauna, you're a great model for aging women. I love your attitude and thank you for sharing.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 7 months ago

I so enjoyed this article. As I am getting older, I realize it is our inner attitude and beauty that is timeless. I loved your ABC on Character strength equals beauty in women. Thank you for encouraging women to express themselves through character. I am sharing this with others. Faith in God does make a difference when it comes to true beauty.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Teaches, I totally believe like you do that faith translates into beauty. Thanks for your valuable feedback.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 5 months ago from Peru, South America

Thank you for the pep talk! My grandmother is a member of the red hat society and she is a beautiful, strong woman. I agree that what we carry inside is more important than the outside. Thank you for this beautiful article.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Vespa, you make me smile. My regards to your grandmother. My appreciation to you for such a pleasant feedback!

Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 5 months ago from UK

I like your positive attitude towards the physical changes we undergo as we grow older. They can be difficult to accept - I'm soon to be 69 and I've finally decided to stop colouring my hair. There is a most beautiful poem about ageing by W.B. Yeats entitled When You Are Old.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Glenis, I'm sure that your positive attitude is more beautiful than the color of your hair. We learn gradually. I will check on that poem. Thanks.

gerimcclym profile image

gerimcclym 4 months ago from Colorado

What a beautiful article, MsDora (no pun intended). I have seen older women whose inner beauty radiates so much that they appear beautiful on the outside, too. I especially liked the Alphabet of Beautiful Traits, and the sentence below it for us to fill in the blank with a trait. An excellent way to mindfully put these traits into practice!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Geri, I pray to be one of those older women. Thanks for your feedback.

Barry 4 months ago

A woman with all those qualities in the beauty alphabet is a treasure. Where can I find her?

MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Barry, I know that you're not being sarcastic because you only need take the time to notice her. I appreciate your input.

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 7 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

I am over 65 now and I feel much better inside. I am no longer bothered by things that used to get me so I can appreciate things that come my way as well as almost everyone. I just love being older.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 weeks ago from The Caribbean Author

Mary, you inspire me. Thank you for your very wise insight.

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